Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has been granted permission to redevelop the Crown Hotel in Biggleswade.
Central Beds’ planning officers approved the plans despite strong objections from the town council.
“We believe that a Wetherspoon pub and hotel will be good for ourselves and for the town too.”Eddie Gershon, Wetherspoon spokesman
But it placed a number of conditions on the permission, including that development begins within three years, and limiting the opening hours of the beer garden.
Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We are very pleased to have been granted planning permission to develop both a pub and hotel in Biggleswade. We still require a licence, and as a result there are no on-site or opening dates yet.
“We believe that a Wetherspoon pub and hotel will be good for ourselves and for the town too. That is the view of the majority of readers who have written to the Chronicle on the subject.”
The town council’s main objections to the plans had been over a lack of parking, and the loss of the right of way through the Crown’s yard.
The Central Beds report states: “The loss of parking is noted and it would certainly be preferable for the hotel to have dedicated customer parking but weight is given to the town centre location of the hotel and the potential for less reliance on vehicles.”
It added that there were publicly accessible parking spaces in the town centre that could be used by hotel guests.
An application has been made to Central Beds to have the access through the yard recognised as a public bridleway. The application was due to be considered earlier this month, but was deferred.
The report adds: “While the determination of this planning application would directly affect the right of way application, and vice versa, the two applications are independent of each other, made under different legislation and it would be unreasonable to delay determination of this application to await the outcome of the other.”
It went on to point out that access from Church Street to the High Street can be gained through Abbott’s Walk, and the loss of the link through the Crown was not considered of sufficient impact to refuse Wetherspoon’s plans.
Biggleswade mayor Hazel Ramsay said: “This is a most unusual situation and we are disappointed that the issue of car parking was not addressed.
“However, the only thing we can do is to wait for the outcome of the second meeting which hopefully will give us a clearer picture of the position.
“We understand that the first meeting was deferred because Central Beds Council had so many witness statements to review and confirm by interviews that they ran out of time.